by Ken Hamrick
This will be a series of informal posts chronicling my quest to understand and engage Jonathan Edwards on the ideas of necessity and certainty, and to establish where Andrew Fuller departed from Edwards’ view. In this, I’m seeking to expand the argument made in the paper, “Fuller & Inability: A Centrist Response to Tom Nettles.”
Edwards defines necessity in the following way:
Philosophical Necessity is really nothing else than the FULL AND FIXED CONNECTION BETWEEN THE THINGS SIGNIFIED BY THE SUBJECT AND PREDICATE OF A PROPOSITION, which affirms something to be true. When there is such a connection, then the thing affirmed in the proposition is necessary, in a philosophical sense; whether any opposition or contrary effort be supposed, or no. When the subject and predicate of the proposition, which affirms the existence of any thing, either substance, quality, act, or circumstance, have a full and CERTAIN CONNECTION, then the existence or being of that thing is said to be necessary in a metaphysical sense. 
He treats necessity and certainty as the same thing Continue reading
by Dr. James Willingham
The ground work or foundation for awakening prayer as well as for the visitation that we call an awakening is to be found in the theology we find linked to the First and Second Great Awakenings and the Launching of the Great Century of Missions as the late historian, Kenneth Scott Latourette called it or the Modern Missionary Movement as it is called today. That theology with few exceptions must be described as Sovereign Grace or Calvinism. The latter term actually diverts attention from the reality that Sovereign Grace is taught in Holy Scripture, and the very term is predicated on the use of the word, “reign,” used in Romans 5:21: “That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Reign or rule, of course, suggests the very idea of sovereignty, the authority and power to demand that things be done with a certainty. Sin abounds. Grace superabounds. The enemy comes in like a flood, and God raises up a standard against him, a counter flood, a greater flood. Like Noah’s flood of old which covered the whole earth, the deluge of grace shall fill the whole earth with His knowledge and glory. The stone becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth.
Interestingly enough, all of this is to be accomplished not by force but by persuasion Which brings us to the statement from a work which began my journey toward this understanding of God’s design. In his Introduction to his translation of William Ames’ Marrow of Divinity (the first textbook in theology used at Harvard, so I understand), Dr. John Eusden stated; “Predestination is an invitation to begin one’s spiritual pilgrimage,….” That statement was like a light turned on in my mind and heart. Continue reading
Our one great need today is for an awakening to prayer. Yes, there are many calls to pray, and there are many who pray. However, we have yet to see a movement of the Spirit of God commensurate with what we seek. That is why I would like to recommend Jonathan Edwards’ Humble Attempt, a tract which inspired William Carey and others to begin praying for the spread of the Gospel to other lands. The Baptists in England began their prayer meetings in 1785. Seven years later, 1792, Carey went to Egypt, and the rest, as they say, is history. The interesting factor in the whole effort, however, is the work by Edwards. His tract lists nearly a 100 prophecies and/or promises which can be pleaded in prayer as reasons for God to hear and answer. I have been praying and pleading these promises, since the Fall of 1973 after I addressed the Pastors’ Prayer Meeting of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association on the subject of A Great Awakening. I would speak to that group on the fifth and tenth anniversaries. My subject on those occasions was, A Third Great Awakening. I cannot say I prayed every day, but I made it a policy that became entrenched to ask for such a visitation as often as possible. Today, I seldom say grace even without asking for another awakening. Continue reading
The events in the book of Judges occur between the death of Joshua and the birth of Samuel and kingship of Saul. In the book, God’s children long for good leadership. “Since the conquest of the land is not complete, the book begins with the question of who will lead in battle (Judg. 1: 1) and ends with the statement, ‘In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes (21: 25).’ The need for a king who will lead God’s people into their full inheritance is an important theme.”1
However, God’s children in Judges are not longing for good leaders from a heart of steadfast devotion to God. A cycle emerges – they abandon the one true God for pagan idols, are oppressed by other nations, and then cry out to God for help. God brings them help, only for them to return to their idolatry each time. Continue reading →
As we near the coming of the Lord, we should be more focused than ever before. As our 50,000 plus churches and congregations partner together in gospel causes, the time is now for us to rise up like never before.
I want to ask you to consider these four things with me in 2015.
1. Personally, collectively, and cooperatively, we need to own the Great Commission.
As Southern Baptists, our missional vision is to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations. There is not one of us that can escape this vision, not because it our vision as Southern Baptists, but because it is the vision of Jesus Christ for each of us as His disciples.
When I challenge us to own the Great Commission, I mean we must own this responsibility personally. Continue reading →
Christians are supposed to have an impact on the world in which we live. Like the followers of Jesus in Acts 17:6–7, present-day followers of Jesus should be turning the world upside down. However, when we think about turning the world upside down for Jesus, we often think we must live “radical” lives. That is, we need to sell our Chevrolet, give up movies, and relocate to the Bolivian jungle in order to engage nomadic peoples who’ve never heard the gospel. That is the real way we make a serious impact.
Tony Merida has a different perspective. In his book Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down, Tony calls Christians to a new normal: “Most gospel ministry involves ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality” (9). If we can understand this, then we might see an “‘ordinary movement’ that involves ordinary Christians, not just ‘super Christians,’ who live on mission in the rhythms of everyday life.” Continue reading →
Some reading this article may be familiar with a method of teaching math called spiraling. As a math teacher, I never used that method in the classroom, but I did once tutor a student using that approach. At first, he and I were both frustrated. His book presented one concept in the first few pages. Then it went immediately onto another concept. But he hadn’t mastered the first, and we were frustrated that the text moved on so quickly. Then, after the first few pages, the book spiraled back to review the first concept. A few pages later, it both reviewed that first concept and expanded on it. The text spiraled, coming back again and again to previously presented concepts, fleshing them out each time a little more. After two weeks of tutoring, my student was no longer frustrated, and it wasn’t because I was a great math teacher. He was getting the concepts from the book on his own. The spiraling approach that had initially frustrated him was now key to his understanding of mathematics. Continue reading →
Trillia and Thern Newbell share how their interracial marriage points to the beauty of the gospel.
Trillia is serves as the Consultant for Women’s Initiatives. She has a degree in political science from the University of Tennessee and is an author and freelance journalist. She is a contributor to the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Desiring God, and The Gospel Coalition. Continue reading →
by Ken Hamrick
The theology of Andrew Fuller, as set out in his greatest work, The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, is centrally located between those Calvinists who see sinners as walking corpses—no more able to believe than a dead body is able to raise itself from the dead—and those of the other side who see sinners as fully enabled by God’s grace to choose (their will being the determining factor). To Fuller, men are able to believe, but will nonetheless remain unwilling until God does a supernatural work of grace to reverse their unwillingness. Regeneration only causes a man to do what he otherwise could have and should have done but refused. This puts the feet of the universal gospel offer on much more Biblical ground, and removes much of the repugnance of the Calvinist doctrine. The gospel is to be preached to all men because all men do have the ability—and the warrant—to embrace it; and that gospel would save any who do—even the unelect if they would but be willing. Continue reading
It’s been just over eight months since my husband and I brought our sweet baby boy home from the hospital. Memories of what life was like before his arrival are faint. We can’t imagine our day-to-day without his crinkled-nose smiles or his excited shrieks of delight. Life as a family of three is our new normal, and while being a mommy to our little one is more exhausting than I thought possible, it is also more joy-filled and abundant than I expected. This deep joy of motherhood, however, is also mingled with sadness; sadness because the time is soon approaching when our days will no longer be filled with this little one’s sweet shrieks of delight. My heart aches knowing that while we have been able to enthusiastically cheer on his first attempts to crawl, it is unlikely that we will be able to experience his first steps, first words, or his first day of school. Continue reading →
PENSACOLA, Fla. (BP) — What’s the best Christmas scent? Is it cinnamon? Pine? Nutmeg? No, it’s much better than those! The “aroma of Christ” is something every Christian spreads like a sweet perfume.
Read carefully: “But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” 1 Corinthians 2:14-15.
How are you handling extra stresses of the Christmas season? Continue reading →
A brief summary of #ATimeToSpeak at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. | Bob Smietana
The following post is by Bob Smietana, senior writer for Facts & Trends. This article originally appeared on Facts & Trends. Bob was with us at the National Civil Rights Museum for the broadcast and I appreciate his first person view.
Four decades after Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, a diverse group of pastors gathered at the historic Lorraine Hotel—now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum—to discuss the state of race relations in America.
King’s dream remains unfulfilled, said Rev. Albert Tate, pastor of Fellowship Monrovia, a church plant near Los Angeles.
“We are here at the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. King was assassinated—not because we got it right,” said Tate, “but because we got it wrong.” Continue reading →
by Mike Nichols
During the past few months, rhetoric from both sides of the Michael Brown shooting has been stated and restated, renewed once the grand jury found the officer who shot Brown should not stand trial.
That rhetoric was again stated and amplified by Eric Garner’s death and subsequent similar outcome through a Staten Island grand jury. We have shouted screamed at one another, to our equal irritation. We have done nothing to resolve our difficulties, not settled our differences, and failed to find answers that are satisfactory to anyone.
During these four months, FBI statistical averages tell us that 1,452 more young black men died violently, and 1,350 of them died as the result of violence against them by other black men.
During that same four months, people in the U.S. have become polarized in their opinions and thoughts about people of other ethnicities. Many white people have blamed the black community, particularly their leaders who continue to cry out for civil rights justice, for obscuring their own difficulties with charges of racism and institutional bias. Continue reading
The Gospel Centered Woman: Understanding Biblical Womanhood through the Lens of the Gospel
Two thumbs up. Author and blogger Wendy Alsup has done what many others have overlooked. In writing for Christian women, most err in one of two ways. Some describe discipleship of women in a way that’s undifferentiated from men. Others only address the specific roles of wife, mom, homemaker, single, career woman, and so forth in a way that neglects the larger issues of discipleship that actually empower their performance of those roles from a gospel perspective. Roles that require submitting and helping aren’t fueled by the commands themselves. These actions witness to something that has preceded. Many people get this wrong, and droves of women spend fruitless hours trying to be the perfect person their study books describe. They end up on the hamster wheel of performance and appearance, never progressing beyond comparison with their contemporaries—who serve as their measure of success.
Alsup “gets it” that Christian women are, first and foremost, simply Christians. Continue reading →
I recently discovered a book that is a collection of vignettes about the women of the New Testament. I was prepping for our women’s Bible study at church and like any good teacher (who is consistently running just shy of deadline), my first stop was the Amazon search engine. I typed in “Women of the New Testament” and one of the first entries was written by, of all people, Abraham Kuyper. Apparently in the midst of reforming turn-of-the-century Dutch society, establishing an entire branch of theology, and pastoring multiple congregations, Kuyper also had time to write on women of the Bible. (Abraham Kuyper: Statesman, Theologian, and Father of the Modern Women’s Bible Study?)
I snagged a 1933 English edition (complete with “Suggested Questions for Study and Discussion”) for a little over a $1. Presumably Kuyper wrote his Women of the New Testament in the late 1800s (I couldn’t find an exact date), and so it’s not surprising that he affirms a fairly traditional understanding of womanhood. What is surprising, however, is that his traditionalism has been thoroughly informed by the gospel and in some respects, doesn’t look like traditionalism at all. Continue reading →
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (BP) — Four decades after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in Memphis, a diverse group of pastors gathered at the historic Lorraine Hotel — now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum — to discuss the state of race relations in America.
Called “A Time to Speak,” the Dec. 15 discussion was inspired by the national debate over race relations, sparked by the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York.
Evangelicals have been largely missing from that conversation, said Bryan Loritts, pastor of Fellowship Memphis, a multiethnic congregation.
“Where are the conservative evangelical voices?” Loritts asked in his opening remarks to an audience of about 100 people in person and more than 6,000 viewing a webcast at live.kainos.is. Continue reading →
NASHVILLE (BP) — President Obama’s opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba may fuel an already-vibrant evangelistic movement there, or it may fuel a repressive regime, Southern Baptist leaders and pastors said in voicing divergent opinions to Baptist Press.
“Our prayer is that the Cuban church planting movement continue to expand. The Cuban people are very receptive to the Gospel,” Kurt Urbanek, IMB strategist for Cuba, said in a statement to BP.
“We praise the Lord Jesus Christ for the spiritual awakening in Cuba which has seen over 500,000 Cubans come to saving faith in Baptist churches during the past 13 years,” Urbanek noted. Continue reading →
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary celebrated its 56th commencement exercises on Dec. 12. The event was highlighted by seminary president Jason Allen’s keynote address and the honoring of longtime faculty member Jim Anderson.
Speaking to 59 graduates, their families and friends, Allen opened the service with a Gospel presentation, and then added, “It is our prayer and ambition that this service would so bear witness to our Lord Jesus Christ that you would be stirred in your interest to become a follower of Christ. All that we do here, and all that you will see in this hour, is rooted in our unshakable belief in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“For the Seminary itself,” Allen noted, “it is a day of joyful sobriety and hopeful seriousness as we send forth graduates in the name of Christ to serve his cause, advance his kingdom, strengthen his church, and bring glory to his name.” Continue reading →
NOTE: The 2015 ERLC Leadership Summit will address “The Gospel and Racial Reconciliation” to equip Christians to apply the gospel on these issues with convictional kindness in their communities, their families, and their churches. This event will be held in Nashville on March 26-27, 2015. To learn more go here.
Russell Moore explains the Bible’s teachings on the equality of all men.
Moore is president of the ERLC. In this role, he leads the organization in all its efforts to connect the agenda of the kingdom of Christ to the cultures of local congregations for the sake of the mission of the gospel in the world. Continue reading →
I’m encouraged and challenged by “A Time to Speak” – two panel discussions held Tuesday at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. The event included Bryan Loritts, John Piper, Voddie Baucham, Thabiti Anyabwile, Trillia Newbell, Ed Stetzer, Matt Chandler, Eric Mason, Albert Tate, Derwin Gray, and Darrin Patrick.
These brothers and sister don’t agree on everything, and they have different views of the best way forward. But in their conversation, you’ll see a model of grace and guidance for how to discuss these matters and grow in Christlikeness. Continue reading →